Thursday, November 28, 2013

I Just Can't The Conclusion & Thoughts on Crazy

This week I wrote a few posts about things that I "just can't" (like animals, quinoa or kale chips) and it sort of turned into a series.  Here's the conclusion to my "just can't" series, a very special holiday episode of "I just can't."
This is my Thanksgiving jam this year.  Seriously, it's a good song with a good message to anyone who thinks they might be crazy.  That's why I love it.

I just can't...explain it.

We were supposed to go to Disney World.  We rented the condo, priced the tickets, saved, budgeted, told the kids.  A Thanksgiving in Disney World, the happiest place in the entire f-ing world.  It was going to be amazing.  No extended family, no big dinners, no emergency rooms, no protecting the kids from my crazy mother, no hours and hours of the Home Shopping Network, no awkward sadness, no regret or guilt.  Not this year.  

But then we ran into a few unexpected expenses over the summer and Disney was out of the picture.

"Sorry kids, we aren't going to Disney World this Thanksgiving," we told them a couple months ago.  "But we ARE going to Grammy's house for the day and that will be, um, fun," we added with strained smiles.

The kids handled it quite well, which makes me wonder if they ever really believed that we were actually going to Disney World in the first place.

They are good kids, sweet kids, compassionate kids.  I love these things about my kids.  These things are why I must think it's okay to take them to visit my mother.  They are compassionate about her quirkiness and her forgetfulness and her falling asleep at the dinner table-ness.  They are understanding in some weird no-judgement kid way when she seems totally disinterested in them one minute and then completely over the moon singing songs and trying to get them to dance with them the next.

They don't question it too much.  But I do.  I can't figure out why I keep going to my mother's for Thanksgiving.  For the past couple years, it's been the only time we see her.  
Because it's the right thing to do? Because she's alone? I just can't....explain it.

I just can't....stop being afraid.

The older I get the more compassion I have for my mother.  Even the mean-spirited, difficult, manipulative person she can be most of the time.  I think back to what the world was like 30 years ago when she was really starting down the path of mental instability.  No one said "bi polar."  There was no Britney, Lindsey or Charlie having public meltdowns on camera and on Twitter.  

I remember one day after school when I was a kid watching Donahue while I ate a bowl of cereal and Patty Duke was on talking about her mental illness.  I knew Patty Duke from old Nick-At-Nite reruns.  When I heard her talk about her manic highs and her depression I felt like someone was describing so much of my mother.  But then the show was over and that was that.

My mother never got the right help or understanding that she needed, or that might be available to her today.  While my heart aches for what could have been for her, for all of us, my fear is bigger.  I am afraid that maybe I am branded with the genetic marker for depression/anxiety/bi-polar/borderline personality/addiction.  I am afraid that it is inevitable.

I just can't....stop finding some of it funny. 
If you can't laugh, then you are dead.  I truly believe that.  I mean there's always something funny (eventually) about a situation.

This Thanksgiving my mother is only having my family and me for dinner.  I have siblings, they just won't be there.

"I just can't handle too many people," she informed me over the phone in her slurry, slightly agitated, southern drawl.  "I'm just trying to not end up with hallucinations this year.  Every other year after all of your loud kids leave I end up hallucinating."

Yeah, you thought you had something to worry about like overeating or someone bringing up Obamacare at the dinner table.  Whatever.  We are trying not to hallucinate here.

I know.  Maybe you aren't laughing.  You're thinking this is the most f#*@ing depressing Thanksgiving post ever.  Welcome to my world.  No, I'm kidding.  It's not all dark and twisty.  

There will be moments that don't make sense, there will be moments that scare me, but there will also be moments that bring out the best in my children.  There will be moments where my husband supports me (and my fears and worries) with every ounce of his being and I will fall in love with him again in those moments.  We will drive home and I will probably cry with relief and/or rage, but then I will laugh.  Because there is always something funny and for that I am grateful.

And next Thanksgiving, I might say I just can't....go.

Here's my holiday jam.

1 comment:

  1. Oy. I don't envy you at all, Angela, and I'm sorry that your trip couldn't happen. Next year?? Good luck, my friend.